Friday, 26 September 2008

My Debut Piano Recital / Monday 6 October 2008, 9.15 pm, The Arts House

It is said that “people live in glass houses should not throw stones”. It is thus in defiance of this spirit that Dr Chang Tou Liang, family physician, former Artistic Director of the Singapore International Piano Festival (2004-08) and currently Singapore’s most active classical music reviewer, presents his first ever solo piano recital.

Tou Liang had lessons on the piano from the age of four, but refused to take piano exams and till this day has yet to pass his ABRSM Grade One (Theory and Practical). However his love for classical music led him at the age of 14 to the wonderful worlds of Singapore Symphony Orchestra concerts, pirated $2 cassettes, LPs, Keller Music, Beethoven Records, Sing Discs (all defunct with the exception of SSO) and 92.4 FM Stereo (before it dumbed down) as his sources of musical inspiration.

Satisfied with being a mere bystander in Singapore’s classical music world, he was charged with creating in 1996 the SSO’s quarterly newsletter Classical Notes and later BraviSSimO!, which he selfishly remains its Editor today. He wrote his first review in The Straits Times in 1997, accusing Sir Paul McCartney of creating a “musical primordial soup” with his Standing Stone. In 1998, he co-founded the SSO Piano Marathon (also defunct, but the idea has somewhat rebounded with a vengeance in UK).

Attending piano competitions has been a keen hobby of his, and he is the only person in the world who has and reviewed and blogged about piano competitions and festivals in Asia, Australia and UK (watch out, USA and Africa!). He currently chairs the Advisory Committee of the National Arts Council’s National Piano & Violin Competition, and hopes that Singapore organises its first international piano competition before he turns 70.

Tou Liang thanks his wife Janet (whom he married after she declared a love for Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations), son Shan Ming (his biggest critic), parents (for blowing good money on a Bösendorfer upright) and offers heartfelt apologies to his teachers Mrs Chia Pek Choo (who had to endure 5 years of weekly lessons) and others with the misfortune of having to say something positive about his playing – Dr Lee Pei Ming, Dennis Lee & Toh Chee Hung, Juliette Lai, Noriko Ogawa, Bernard Roberts, Bryce Morrison and Rosemary Hallum – and the long suffering staff of The PianoMan’s Music Shop (#B2-16 Bukit Timah Plaza), where he puts their Nottingham and Brodmann pianos through severe tests.

Tou Liang’s recital includes works by Rubinstein, Rachmaninov, Schumann, Chopin, Ravel, Godowsky, Sculthorpe, Albeniz, Ginastera, Nazareth, Gershwin, Billy Mayerl, and Singapore premieres of works by Mozart-Stevenson and Mahler.

Satisfaction not guaranteed, the disgruntled and disgusted may have their measly $10 back. Enter at your own risk!

No comments: